February 1985 - Superior General's Letter #28

The Society consecrated to the Mother of God. We are attached to truth, to the Mass and to saving souls. The work of the Mystical Body itself will remove the scandal in the Church. For fifteen years now there has been a miraculous building up of the Church. Support of the seminaries is key.

Dear Friends and Benefactors:

Consecration of the Society to the Mother of God

The most outstanding event of the last few months in the Priestly Society of St. Pius X was the consecration of the Society to the Mother of God, which, for us, should now become a reality lived day by day; to sing her praise unceasingly, to give battle beneath her banner against the enemies of God and to trample underfoot the satanic head of laicism and liberalism, to carry out her work in restoring the Church to her image and to build up again a Christian civilization. That is our mission, that is the object of our desires; in that consists our honor.

We are attached to truth, to the Mass and to saving souls

What have we been struggling for during the fifteen years of the Society's existence? A spiritual motive has moved us, relying on the help of God's grace, to stand against a whole world of enemies: against liberalism — with protestantism, its father and socialism, its son — we have had to stand up to powerful men of this world and even prelates in the Church. This we have had to do not out of whimsy or proud self-exaltation, but as a sacred duty before God. It is not mere differences in outer forms, or human misunderstandings, or a lack of skill in diplomacy which have led to our apparent condemnation; no, it is our unyielding attachment to the royal prerogatives of the truth, our defending the Catholic Faith with its costliest treasures, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, our giving all we have to save the divine life in souls — this, and this alone, has called forth the wrath of our adversaries.

The work of the Mystical Body itself will remove the scandal in the Church

Consequently the removal of this scandal in the Church is not a matter of political skill or of working out an equivocal formula to make everyone happy. The cessation of the enemy occupation alone, the condemnation of the destructive liberal principles and the unconditional return to Tradition are the only way willed by God and befitting the dignity of the Church. In the last resort it is a matter not of our own relatively modest work, but of the Mystical Body of Christ Itself. And so as men of the Church we wish to fight the good fight, to keep the Faith, and by this means to win for ourselves and for as many others as possible the crown of everlasting life.

We are still far from a practical solution

A practical solution consisting in the recognitions of the Society of St. Pius X as being of pontifical right with personal prelate status presupposes then an accompanying solution of the principal questions within the Church. From this we still seem to be a good distance away, for we see as yet amongst the prelates in Rome little trace of any energetic intervention in the style of a Pope St. Pius X:

  • Cardinal Ratzinger in his analysis of so-called liberation theology of August 6, 1984, lays out the perversity and revolutionary tendency of the whole system, yet today there is already talk of the positive aspects of liberation theology, and so the theologians Boff and Gutierrez will continue to scatter the seeds of class warfare throughout Latin America.

  • On October 3 of last year, the Roman Congregation for Divine Worship made it possible to once more celebrate the traditional rite of Mass, but, at the same time, attached such conditions to this permission as to make it unacceptable to any believing Catholic.

  • Cardinal Ratzinger in his interview of August 6, 1984, with the Italian periodical "Jesus," lays unmistakably bare the wounds of the Church: the denial of Christ's divinity in the West, the immorality in North America, the Marxist liberation theology in South America, the paganizing synchronization with local culture in Africa and Asia. Yet, at the same time, he speaks warmly of the fruits of two hundred years of liberalism which, he says, the Church assimilated in purified form in the 1960's.

The judgment of Pope Pius IX is quite different

What a difference from the judgment of Pope Pius IX in his Encyclical Quanta Cura: "For you know well, venerable brethren, that at this time there are found not a few who, applying to civil intercourse the impious and absurd principles of what the call "naturalism," dare teach 'that the best form of society, and the exigencies of civil progress, absolutely require human society to be constituted and governed without any regard whatsoever to religion, as if this [religion] did not exist, or at least without making any distinction between true and false religions.' . . . . From this totally false notion of social government, they fear not to uphold the erroneous opinions most pernicious to the Catholic Church, and to the salvation of souls, which was called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, insanity (Encyclical, 13 August 1832): namely: 'that the liberty of conscience and of worship is the peculiar (or inalienable) right of every man, which should be proclaimed by law, and that citizens have the right to all kinds of liberty, to be restrained by no law, whether ecclesiastical or civil, by which they may be enabled to manifest openly and publicly their ideas, by word of mouth, through the press, or by any other means.' . . . . Amid so great a perversity of depraved opinions, We, remembering Our apostolic duty, and solicitous before all things for Our most holy religion, for sound doctrine, for the salvation of the souls confided to Us and for the welfare of human society itself, have considered the moment opportune to raise anew Our apostolic voice. Therefore do We by Our apostolic authority, reprobate, denounce and condemn generally and particularly all the evil opinions and doctrines specially mentioned in this Letter, and We wish that they may be held as reprobated, denounced, and condemned by all the children of the Catholic Church."

The emphasis of the old and new rite is shown in the opening words

Just how far this evil spirit, scourged by Pope Pius IX, stood godfather to the reform of the liturgy is patently clear from a declaration of the Press Relations Office of the German Bishops' Conference, dated October 19, 1984. It runs: "The main difference between the pre-conciliar rite and the renewed rite of Mass can perhaps best be made clear from the first words of each rite. The Tridentine rite of Mass begins with the words 'Sacerdos paratus,’ that is, "When the priest is vested." The renewed rite of Mass begins with the words 'Populo congregate' that is, "When the people have gathered together.' Then it is clear: the emphasis in the old rite of Mass was exclusively on the celebrant's action; the renewed rite of Mass brings the community action of the people of God into the foreground, within which the celebrant exercises an essential and untouchable function. From this inward difference derive also most of the outward differences between the two rites."

For just the same reason the new Canon Law with its eucharistic hospitality, its protestantizing concept of the people of God and its assertion that God's church subsists in the Catholic Church, is unacceptable, except in purely disciplinary matters.

Conspiratorial network reaches into the governments of Western nations

Just how far the undermining by anti-catholic forces have already progressed was made clear a few weeks ago by a high-up Vatican prelate in a conversation with Archbishop Lefebvre. He informed him 'with far-reaching details of the whole conspiratorial network in which not only various individuals in the Roman Curia have been caught up, but which also reaches into the nunciatures and even the governments of Western nations.

It is now fifteen years of miraculous building up of the Church

It may well be for our numerous sins that we have not until now deserved any improvement of the situation. .. so it is a pure act of mercy of Jesus Crucified if we can see before our eyes the miracle — lasting now almost fifteen years — of the founding of monasteries and convents, above all in France; the growth of prayer groups and youth organizations, the spread of our Priestly Society which, over that time, has implanted itself in eighteen countries on four continents. Two examples manifest the faithful people's hunger and thirst for the truths and gifts of salvation: in Santiago, Chile three months ago Archbishop Lefebvre, in a single ceremony, gave 1,200 children the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the United States, according to a Gallup Poll in November, 1984, 53% of Catholics would attend the traditional Mass in suitable conditions of time and place!

Old rite now being offered every hour of every day all over the world

Thanks to your generous support alone were our new foundations in Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Portugal and Holland possible last autumn. Since then they have been bearing abundant fruit. For example, six young Colombians are entering the Society's seminary in the Argentine in March. And how urgently the Church today needs self-sacrificing prayerful priests who are strong in the Faith! Already the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered somewhere on earth almost every hour of the day and night in its venerable rite bestowing grace and blessing, by Society priests, to say nothing of all the faithful diocesan and religious priests. Certainly this helps you better to carry your cross, in union with the God-Man sacrificed upon our altars. Moreover, this year for the first time, thirty young men from our four seminaries will be mounting the altar-steps to offer their first Mass. Yet, how many more cries for help reach us daily — not only from Europe but also from Africa, South America, India, Japan, New Zealand. It is not exaggerated optimism to count on the members and houses of the Priestly Society doubling over the next five years. This requires however the blessing of heaven, which we discern not least in the kindness of your gifts, spiritual and material. Let me then apply the appeal of St. Pius X as Bishop of Mantua to our own seminaries, schools, retreat houses and priories:

Love the Seminary!

"The Church cannot stand without priests, and the priesthood cannot last unless provision is made for the education of clerics. We must do all in our power to make our seminary flourish once again. I do not ask the impossible: I know that your earnings are small, but I also know that there are many of you . . . many grains make a heap and many drops a shower! Have you yourselves not witnessed the unused church and the abandoned altar, the empty confessional? Have you not seen young men growing up ignorant of the things essential for their salvation, the sick and dying without the consolations of religion? Sion is left desolate, because no one is there to call the people to the feast of the Lord. Do not think I wish to give you commands or lay on you harsh sacrifices. If I am asking for alms, I do so with the humility of a beggar. I have only one request: Love the Seminary! That alone will be enough to enable your bishop to work wonders.

"Love the Seminary! This is the desire of your bishop. Let no one allege the scantiness of his income or the poverty of his parish, for there is no one who cannot give a cent, a fruit, a vegetable. Nothing is impossible to him who loves.

"Love the Seminary! This is most necessary for the Diocese of Mantua at the moment. Your small offerings will renew for you the prodigy of the widow of Sarephta, who, for the morsel she gave to the Prophet Elias, received the promise that the pot of meal should not waste nor the cruse of oil be diminished."

May the holy season of Lent purify and strengthen you to behold the glorious wounds of the risen Savior on Easter morning; may Jesus, Mary and Joseph bless you and your home, and reward your love a thousandfold!

Father Franz Schmidberger,

Superior General


Ash Wednesday 1985